Yoshiko Sai – Mikkō (1976) [Repost]

Due to the great success of Yoshiko Sai’s first entry, simply the most viewed during this year, today we present another album of this incredible haunting artist!

Let’s go to our history:

Edo (modern Tokyo) became the seat of government for the military dictatorship in the early 17th century Japan, the so-called Edo period (1603–1867). With an ‘everlasting’ peace and prosperity, the merchant class at the bottom of the social order found themselves the greatest beneficiaries of the city’s rapid economic growth. Other classes were the samurai and the craftsmen. Many indulged in the entertainment of kabuki theatre, courtesans, and geisha of the pleasure districts.

The term Ukiyo (floating world) came to describe this hedonistic lifestyle. Printed or painted ukiyo-e images of this environment emerged in the late 17th century, the merchant class, who had become wealthy enough to afford to decorate their homes with such brilliant works. Depictions of beautiful women, kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flora and fauna; and erotica were amongst the popular themes. (!)

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1844
Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1844

The peak period in terms of quantity and quality was marked by portraits of beauties and actors by masters such as Kiyonaga, Utamaro, and Sharaku in the late 18th century. This peak was followed in the 19th century by a pair of masters best remembered for their landscapes: Hokusai and Hiroshige. Following the deaths of these two, and against the technological and social modernization that followed the Meiji Restoration of 1868, ukiyo-e production went into steep decline.

Some ukiyo-e artists specialized in making paintings, but most works were prints. Artists rarely carved their own woodblocks for printing; rather, production was divided between the artist, who designed the prints; the carver, who cut the woodblocks; the printer, who inked and pressed the woodblocks onto hand-made paper; and the publisher, who financed, promoted, and distributed the works.

Hokusai, 1830-32
Hokusai, 1830-32

Japonisme, or Japonism, is a French term that was first used (theorized) by Jules Claretie in his book L’Art Francais in 1872, it refers to the influence of Japanese art on Western art. In 1854, Japan re-opened trade with the West (after 265 years of isolation) and Japanese artworks including fans, porcelains, woodcuts, and screens were introduced in huge numbers to Europe, mainly France and the Netherlands.

The 1862 World’s Fair in Europe brought even more attention to Japanese art, during the 1860’s ukiyo-e, Japanese woodblock prints, became very popular and were a source of inspiration to many impressionists and post-impressionist artists in the west including Monet, Manet, Degas, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. (!)

Utamaro, 1793
Utamaro, 1793

Let’s go to our album:

Released on July 25th, 1976, Mikkō was Sai Yoshiko’s second album, a wonderful acid-folk register on which she gets assisted by a string of big-name musicians such as Kuni Kawachi on arrangements. At times the disc draws in Indian influences (sitar and tabla), but once she gets to singing, the listener is lulled into her own private, mysterious sonic world, through which one gets sucked in by her wide-ranging vocalizations. At the time of this recording, she was merely 23 years old.

This is a quieter, entrained album, compared to Taiji No Yume, with less variety of styles, making a melodic somber entry. I really would like to know more details about the lyrics, will any Japanese friend could help us? This is such a stunner voyage of consciousness, welcome to the unique realms of Yoshiko Sai, be ready!

1977's Promo
1977’s Promo

The ‘IM’ highlights are Tenshi no Yōni and Mikkō.

Bonum Cursum!

Tracks Include:

A1 Theme ~ 母さまのうた (Theme ~ Kāsama no Uta)

A2 鏡地獄 (Kagami Jigoku)

A3 (Haru)

A4 絹之道 (Kinu no Michi)

B1 人のいない島 (Hito no Inai Shima)

B2 眠りのくに (Nemuri no Kuni)

B3 天使のように (Tenshi no Yōni)

B4 漂流船 (Hyōryūsen)

B5 密航 (Mikkō)

Translations, respectively:

Theme – Mother’s Song, Hell of Mirrors, Spring, Silk Road, Desert Island

Land of Sleep, Like an Angel, Ship Adrift and Stowing Away

Credits

  • Acoustic Guitar: 吉川忠英, 野間義男
  • Cello: 阿部雅士
  • Drums: 山下秀夫, 田中清司, 武田光司
  • Dulcimer: 生見慶二
  • Electric Bass: 江藤勲, 高水建司
  • Electric Guitar: 高中正義, 津村泰彦
  • Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Sitar (E. Sitar): 矢島賢
  • Flute: 中川昌三
  • Piano, Keyboards: 大谷和夫, 松岡直也
  • Strings: 新音楽協会
  • Tabla: 瀬上養之助
  • Vibraphone: クニ河内
  • Arranged: クニ河内 (Kuni Kawashi)
  • Lyrics, Music: 佐井好子 (Yoshiko Sai)
  • Engineer伊豫部富治
  • IllustrationYoshiko Sai
  • Design (Cover Design) – Teichiku Design Section
  • Directed: 春名勇

Companies

  • Made: Teichiku Records Co., Ltd.
  • Recorded: Sound Creation Studio
  • Mixed: AMS Studio

Recorded at Teichiku No.1 Studio and Sound Creation Studio.

Mixdown at AMS Studio from March to May 1976.

Black ‎– BAL-1018

Yoshiko’s Painting Cover Art

Yoshiko Sai – Taiji No Yume (1977) [Repost]

Born on June 22, 1953, at Nara prefecture, Yoshiko Sai since his childhood demonstrated its precocity and many artistic gifts. During her elementary school days, she loved to paint and read all the classics from mythical writer Edogawa Rampo (The Japanese Poe). In junior high school, she was a member of the coral, taking his first lessons in music; by high school, she played (casually) in a folk-rock group.

In 1972 she tried to enter the Kyoto City University of Arts but wasn’t accepted, then she tried the Kyoto Doshisha University where she passed the entrance examination. In May of that year, she was caught by kidney disease, having to spend a year in observation.

Portrait
Portrait

Over this period she would recall:

‘I read a LOT of books from famous novelists, such as Mushitaro Oguri, Yumeno Kyusaku, Juran Hisao, and Yokomizo Masashi. These dark novels made me accept and relax about the disease, my forthcoming production of lyrics and music was strongly tied with this fact.’

After leaving the hospital, she incessantly started to wrote poetry and in 1974 debuted and won a contest at a local radio program. She then received an invitation to play an opening act for Rabi Nakayama concert. Two record companies became interested in her music and after the show, she was contracted by Teichiku Records.

1978 Promo
1978 Promo

Yoshiko Sai recorded four albums in four years, between May 1975 and December 1978, the 2nd (Mikkō) and 3rd (Taiji No Yume) of her releases may be considered more Progressive than Folk. Unfortunately, she abruptly retired from a career at the age of 25 in 1979.

A story told is that Yoshiko may have doubted her talent in music and lost her self-confidence. In recent years, a revival of interest in his music made her come back to record a new album with Jojo Hiroshige, called Crimson Voyage in 2001. Lastly, there’s been some re-releases from its 70s records, unedited live performances and poetry books.

Let’s go to our album:

In 1977 she moved to the Nippon Columbia company, and on September 25, she announced Taiji No Yume (Fetus Dream). Heavily inspired by the pre-war oddball and ghostly neurosurgeon doctor and writer Yumeno Kyusaku, hence the strange atmosphere this disc abides in. Quite dark in the overall texture, at the time of this she was merely 24 years old. Totally unknown for non-japanese listeners, this album is really a must for people into some more advanced Japanese historical recordings.

Melancholic Breeze
Melancholic Breeze

With utterly beautiful arrangements by the legendary Yuji Ohno, this is certainly my favorite album from her. A kaleidoscope of genres that spring from the depths of the inner mind: folk, jazz, bossa nova, flamenco, prog, rock and so. Yoshiko Sai plays the role of each and invites us to another dimension of reality, the “IM’ highlights are for:

Aoi Glass-Dama, with nice synths and strings, this rock ballad has an interesting crescendo, delivering an amazing emotional interpretation. And Taiji No Yume, a 9-minute epic, simply one of the best Japanese songs of all time, without exaggeration, I’ll let the words and adjectives to you, do not miss Yoshiko Sai’s haunting realms. 良い旅!

Tracks Include:

A1 ヒターノ (Gitano)

A2 アルハンブラの青い壜 (Alhambra No Aoi Bin)

A3 ある晴れた夜 (Aru Hareta Yoru)

A4 波止場 (Hatoba)

A5 春の夢 (Haru No Yume)

A6 海の沈黙 (Umi No Chinmoku)

B1 青いガラス玉 (Aoi Garasudama)

B2 遍路 (Henro)

B3 白昼夢 (Hakuchūmu)

B4 胎児の夢 (Taiji No Yume)

All songs and lyrics by Yoshiko Sai

Blow Up LX-7021A /// 25/09/1977

Musicians

Drums: Yasushi Ichihara

Electric & Acoustic Guitar: Tsunehide Matsuki

Gut Guitar: Kiyoshi Sugimoto

Electric Bass: Kenji Takamizu (1,2,4,5,9,10) /// Akira Okazawa (3,6,7,8)

Acoustic Piano: Masahiko Sato

Electric Piano, Solina, Spinet & Synthesizer: Yuji Ohno

Percussion: Lary Sunaga

Arranged (strings, brass, instrumental) by Yuji Ohno

Credits

Directed by: Shun Ohki

Produced by: Akira Sakajima

Engineer: Tomiji Iyobe

Art Director: Kazuhiro Saito

Cover Illustration: Yoshiko Sai

Illustration: Tsuyoshi Takigaito

Photography by: Jin Komine

Layout: Takashi Eakabayashi

Taiji No Yume Illustration
Taiji No Yume Illustration

Slađana Milošević and Neutral Design – Neutralni Design (1983)

All right, continuing with the aforementioned Top 5 records (since our departure) this one also fits in this relation, a very very sick New Wave entry with a talented and flamboyant artist who broke all standards back in the day and still are, either performing, writing, modeling or producing she maintains herself as one of the greatest personas of former SFR Yugoslavia, Serbia and even expanding her horizons all over Europe and America.

This is a killer LP, and we will only start off with, so more will come eventually, shall we?

Let’s go to our artist:

Aleksandra “Slađana” Milošević Hagadone (born 1955 October 3 in Belgrade, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia), better known as Slađana Milošević. Her talent for music became very apparent at an early age, so she started education in classical music at the age of five, playing the piano. A few years later, her interest turned to study the violin. Eventually, she embraced rock and the bass guitar performing in school and recording at the age of 15. (!)

Sasha Subota Orchestra – 1976

From then on, her interests had shifted towards various artistic expressions such as acting, playing music and dancing in the fringe theatres and experimental movies. She acted in Belgrade’s Ex Art Theatre, Atelje 212 Theatre and in Academic Kino Club Krsmanović. In 1976, she toured the Soviet Union as a soloist in the Sasha Subota Orchestra, where she had recorded a compilation of World Hits and a single Mikado for Soviet label Melodiya.

Being in constant discordance with the restrictive regime and the media, despite all the efforts, she could not release a solo record in her homeland for many years. Thus, she invests her funds and finally manages to produce and release the first single in 1977.

An Ordinary Gal – 1977

Unexpectedly, it had achieved immediate success hitting No. 1 on the charts. Milošević’s provocative first song “Au, Au” caused many controversial reactions inside the regime. However, her creative potential, persistence, and consistency of ideas had won over. She influenced younger musicians and other less courageous, to follow her bold path.

From then on, every song she had released hit the top of the charts: “Au, Au” (1977), Simpatija” (1978), “Sexy Dama”(1978), then “Amsterdam”, and “Očigledno Nije Mi Svejedno”, off her first and highly-rated LP Gorim Od Želje Da Ubijem Noć from 1979. Milošević’s fame spread throughout the entire region and the surrounding countries. For instance, at midnight, the Hungarian audience celebrated with Alexandra an arrival of the New Year 1979, through her one-hour performance on National TV, Budapest.

Gorim Od Želje Da Ubijem Noć Tour

In 1982, she embarked with her band on a national Yugoslav tour with English rockabilly legends Matchbox. In 1983, she started a band “Neutral Design” in Munich, Germany and released a self-titled album. Musicians in this project collaborated with bands known worldwide such as Santana and Nina Hagen Band. Songs off of this LP were broadcast and sold in West Germany, Sweden, Yugoslavia, and other European countries.

A single “Das Licht von Kairo / Miki, Miki” released in Yugoslavia, became a mega-hit.

Therefore she would only ascend with a myriad of prizes, world tours, and a 1988 LP. Slađana eventually moves on to different countries, expands her professional acting, waning her solo acts in the 90s releasing her last album in 2000, Animal Tested.

Neutral Design Era

Let’s go to our album:

With an incredible variation of rhythms and influences, this is her most mature and lasting album, for a certain period I heard it repeatedly for months, something that grows inside you, a perfect photograph of what was the effervescent beginning of the ’80s.

Being the chameleon she always was, soon Slađana would follow a more Pop direction in ’84 and walk the paths of Jazz on her subsequent album.

Contemporary of Nina Hagen and Bebi Doll in the exotic, provocative and singular aesthetics senses she remains one of the greatest stars of her country and beyond!

1984

The ‘IM’ highlights are Klown I Smrt, a dark-reggae with a wall of synths and Nad Tobom Anđeli Imaju Moć a soothing cyclotomic ballad.

Tracks Include:

A1 Das Licht Von Kairo (Svletla Kaira)
Lyrics By M. Bajagić
Music By, Arranged By P. Labontie

A2 New York
Arranged By S. Milošević
Guitar (Solo) Rudolf Gast
Lyrics By D. Đurić
Music By B. Werber

A3 Hey, Little Boy
Written-By Slađana Milošević

A4 Klovn I Smrt
Arranged By S. Milošević
Lyrics By M. Bajagić
Music By B. Werber

B1 Miki, Miki
Saxophone (Solo) Mića Marković
Written-By Slađana Milošević

B2 Neko Je Tu (Sa Mnom U Sobi)
Arranged By S. Milošević
Lyrics By M. Bajagić
Music By B. Werber

B3 Nad Tobom Anđeli Imaju Moć
Written By Slađana Milošević

B4 Ja Sam Neka Čudna Vrsta
Lyrics By M. Tadić
Music By, Lyrics By, Arranged By S. Milošević

Musicians

Bass: Pit Zaepernick
Drum Programming, Synthesizer (Prophet 5), Organ (Hammond B3): Attila Terry
Guitar, Drum Programming, Effects: Bruce Werber
Producer, Vocals, Guitar, Drum Programming, Effects: Alexandra Sladjana M.
Synthesizer (Roland V, Yamaha): Alex Grunwald
Synthesizer (Roland, Korg), Programmed By (Synthesizer): Florian Anwander

Credits

Design: Gordan Škondrić
Mixed By: Uli Rudolf
Photography: Ljubo Trifunović
Recorded By: Cristian Leibi

Notes

Jugoton ‎– LSY-63185

Recorded at Western Studio, Munich, Germany.
Mixed at Aquarius Studio, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Nowadays

Elektra – Keegi (1981)

One of the greatest things about running the ‘IM’ is having the curiosity to hear sounds from all over the world and that is why today’s post is the inaugural of a country that had not yet entered our route: Estonia. The work that the Frotee label has been doing for the last few years is priceless, thanks to them we can present you this unfamiliar artist, and for the most avid travelers we can forefront a couple of suitable names that came from this fantastic musical scene, groups like Väntorel, Keeris, Tornaado, Velly Joonas, Gunnar Graps and Magnetic Band, Fix, Ruja and many more deserve your close attention.

Along with our journey, other eesti-rock gems will be here, so please come always sõber!

Let’s go to our artist:

Elektra started out in the middle of the 1960s as a female vocal group with a fluctuating line-up which was accompanied by different instrumental groups.

Ansambel Elektra 60s

At the end of the 1970s, pianist Aarne Saluveer became the head of the backing musicians and his friends Agu Tammeorg, Meelis Punder, and Jaan Karp joined the band. During this period, Elektra performed together with the college girl band Kooli-Prii which Kadri Hunt, who was the daughter of Elektra’s conductor Märt Hunt, had formed together with her classmates. By 1981, the Kooli-Prii girls had replaced the former singers of Elektra.

Kadri Hunt loved songs with Afro-American influences, which she heard from radio or the few records she could get her hands on. Kooli-Prii played these songs at their concerts and (legendary) soul singer Marju Kuut taught them voice placing. The girls went to a school which focused on English teaching so they sang in English at their concerts but they had to get the lyrics translated in order to avoid problems with recordings (censorship).

Hiiglane Marju Kuut

In 1981, Elektra recorded only a few disco songs but that was it because the number of music studios in Tallinn was very limited. For example, the Estonian Radio studio where they could record with 8-track tape recorders was vacant only during the nights. (!)

During the next few years, disco music went out of fashion in Estonia and the repertoire of the band became more popular to match the musical taste of Aarne Saluveer (the band’s leader). In addition to that, Kadri Hunt became its only singer. In 1985, Elektra released its only record (a 7” EP) and their music had become way distanced from soul music. By 1986 the group had dissolved with some of its members going solo or engaging new bands.

Let’s go to our album:

Elektra 1981

Keegi with the original title “You Might Need Somebody” was based on Randy Crawford’s interpretation of the song which was released the same year, the original was a yacht-rock song performed by Turley Richards. The original version of Meid Kaasa Muusika Viib called “Jump To The Beat” was made famous by the teenage singer Stacy Lattishaw.

These two cuts from this single are amazing, I wasn’t aware of the originals the first time I’ve listened to, so I still think these covers are a MUST, there’s something with these gals vocals and Estonian phonetics that kept me mesmerized! Kas Sa Tahaksid Tulla?

Tracks Include:

A Keegi
Lyrics By: Märt Hunt
Written By: Nan O’Byrne, Tom Snow

B Meid Kaasa Muusika Viib
Lyrics By: Märt Hunt
Written By: Lisa Walden, Narada Michael Walden

Credits

Bass: Meelis Punder
Drums: Jaan Karp
Flute: Tauno Saviauk
Guitar: Agu Tammeorg
Keyboards: Aarne Saluveer
Vocals: Kadri Hunt, Kersti Raik, Signe Tükk, Tiina Kalle

Mastered By: Lynn Petrin
Photography: Arno Saar
Recorded By: Mati Brauer

Notes

Frotee ‎– FRO004

Mastered At: Ebony Cuts

Recorded at Eesti Raadio Studio, Tallinn, October 1981.

Tallinn Landscape

Pino Daniele ‎– Nero A Metà (1980)

Let’s get a pause of the gals, shall we? I must admit I’m a bit ashamed for only get to know this COLOSSAL artist only a few years back but that’s one of the reasons that I have the ‘IM’. Pino Daniele is probably one of the greatest Italian artists of the 20th century, like Lucio Dalla and Vasco Rossi, this Napolitan musician, and composer stood out as a brilliant guitarist and bandleader, passionate composer, and a very very distinct singer.

Unfortunately, Pino passed away in 2015 due to a heart attack, a tragic loss of someone who didn’t reach its sixties, RIP! We choose to present you one of his masterpieces (yes he has more than one!), its third solo album, a voyage that ranges from Blues to Jazz, and even Pop elements, a real treat with a stellar band, so non andare da nessuna parte, vuoi?

Let’s get to our artist:

Pino Daniele 1979

Pino Daniele, born Giuseppe Daniele (Naples, 19 March 1955 – Rome, 4 January 2015), was an Italian singer-songwriter, musician and composer. Pino grew up learning both classical and traditional Neapolitan guitar, though as a teenager he became interested in British and American rock. In 1976, he started playing as a bassist in Napoli Centrale where he met James Senese who would become a key figure in the production of his first albums.

In the same year Claudio Poggi, EMI Italiana’s producer, listened to a demo tape with Daniele’s original songs and decided to produce his music. Within six months his first single was released titled Ca Calore / Fortunato, both songs were included on his first album, Terra Mia (released in 1977) sung in Neapolitan, was the first example of what Daniele called “taramblù” a combination of tarantella, rhumba, and blues (!).

27/06/1980

In 1979 his self-titled sophomore record was released, followed by Nero a Metà in 1980, and that same year Daniele was invited to open for reggae superstar Bob Marley for his show in Milan, with an attendance of more than 100.000 people it was by far its greatest show ever played. During the next few years the artist continued exploring his various Mediterranean, African, and Western inspirations, found in albums like Common Ground, a collaboration with Richie Havens, and the Middle Eastern-influenced Bonne Soirée, as well as writing soundtracks for films by his close friend Massimo Troisi.

Being active until its very last moment, Pino Daniele had released several albums, cinema soundtracks, television performances, world-tours, and countless collaborations. He is one of the most famous Italian musicians in the world and we simply thank you, Ragazzo!

Let’s go to our album:

On Tour 1981

Easy to say that Pino’s first five albums are absolutely mandatory, from 1977 to 1982 his career skyrocketed and then he continued to search new forms of expression through multiple collaborations and live performances in a very fruitful career. Nero A Metà sold over 300,000 copies and is present in the ranking of the 100 most important Italian records ever according to Rolling Stone Italia at position number 17. (!)

Pino’s thoughts about this album:

‘The title “Nero a Metà”, tied to a musical concept, was inspired by a beautiful book published in the ’70s, “Nero di Puglia”, which narrates the story of a colored man born in the South, a little like my friend James Senese’s story. Useless to say that my favorite piece is “Quanno Chiove”, one of my first love songs. We wanted to change things and music helped us a lot.’

Nero A Metà Promo

The ‘IM’ highlights are Quanno Chiove (probably one of the most beautiful love songs ever) and A Me Me Piace ‘O Blues (a funk-prog blues to stir up ANYTHING). Genio!

Tracks Include:

A1 I Say I’ Sto Ccà
A2 Musica Musica
A3 Quanno Chiove
A4 Puozze Passà’ Nu Guaio
A5 Voglio Di Più
A6 Appocundria
B1 A Me Me Piace ‘O Blues
B2 E So’ Cuntento ‘E Stà’
B3 Nun Me Scoccià’
B4 Alleria
B5 A Testa In Giù
B6 Sotto ‘O Sole

Musicians

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar: Pino Daniele
Bass: Aldo Mercurio, Gigi De Rienzo
Congas: Karl Potter
Drums: Agostino Marangolo, Mauro Spina
Harmonica: Bruno De Filippi
Keyboards: Ernesto Vitolo
Percussion: Rosario Iermano, Tony Cercola (Astà)
Tenor Saxophone: James Senese
Backing Vocals: Enzo Avitabile

Lyrics and Music by Pino Daniele

Arranged By: Pino Daniele (tracks: A1 to A6, B2 to B6)
Arranged By: Gigi De Rienzo (tracks: B1)

Credits

Mixed By: Allan Goldberg (tracks: A1 to B2, B4 to B5), Gaetano Ria (tracks: B3, B6), Marcello Todaro (tracks: B3, B6)

Photography By: Cesar Monti
Producer: Willy David, Marcello Todaro, Pino Daniele
Recorded By: Allan Goldberg

Co-Producer: Gigi De Rienzo, Rosario Iermano
Artwork: Cesar Monti, Willy David
Engineer: Nick Lovallo
Graphics: Wanda Monti

Management: Totò Iacobone, Willy David
Management (Personal Manager): Joseph Lodato

Notes

EMI ‎– 3C 064-18468 / 12-2-80.

Registrato e mixato allo “Stone Castle Studio” tranne “Nun Me Scoccià'” e “Sotto ‘O Sole” mixati al “Trafalgar Recording Studio” (ottobre ’79 – gennaio ’80).

Naples Alley (RIP)